A reinventory of invasive weed species in Dinosaur National Monument to determine management effectiveness.
Invasive weed management in wildland areas is often challenging due to the need to protect and preserve the integrity of natural ecosystems. Russian knapweed is an aggressive, deep-rooted, creeping perennial forb that was first identified as a problematic species in Dinosaur National Monument in 1977. From 2002 to 2005, extensive nonnative plant inventories were conducted in portions of the monument. Results were used to develop and implement an aggressive weed management program beginning in 2005. Emphasis was placed on reducing Russian knapweed infestations around Josie's Ranch in the Cub Creek Watershed. Several other species were targeted as well. In 2010, a reinventory was conducted in selected areas to evaluate how implemented management strategies affected the overall distribution and abundance of targeted species on the landscape. Comparisons between inventories indicate that management strategies were successful in reducing the total infested area of Russian knapweed by 79%. Treatments used for other targeted species also appear to have been effective in reducing their overall distribution and abundance on the landscape. In addition, the reinventory identified several new species with the potential to become problematic in the area. Although this case study documents the substantial progress that has been made at Dinosaur National Monument toward obtaining specific weed management objectives, it more importantly illustrates the process and benefits of an adaptive approach in sustaining long-term invasive plant species management efforts.